Providence Park renovation nears completion


Photo Courtesy of Vivian Calvin

Workers do construction on SW 18th Ave outside of Providence Park. The stadium renovations are expected to be completed this spring.

From the vantage point of Lincoln High School’s patio, tall cranes protrude into the skyline of Goose Hollow. Some believe that these cranes foreshadow the disruption that will occur in Lincoln’s neighborhood, while others argue that the product of these machines will change the community for the better.

Starting in November 2017, Turner Construction began a multi-million dollar renovation to Providence Park, home of Portland’s two professional soccer teams: the Timbers and Thorns.

According to the Major Soccer League (MLS) website, the remodel is planned to be completed in the spring of 2019 and “will add [4,400] new seats,” as well as sidewalk coverings.

The construction has made the commute to work and school difficult for some in the Lincoln community.

“It’s been a little tricky getting to the MAC, [where the team practices], in the evenings,” says Lincoln English teacher and swimming coach Kara Wendel.

Wendel imagines it is likely frustrating for parents and students doing drop-offs in the mornings to have the northbound road of SW 18th Ave closed.

Looking to the future, citizens have differing opinions on how the stadium’s renovation will affect the neighborhood.

“I am very concerned with the increased number of attendees leading to car traffic through Goose Hollow,” says Tracy Prince, President of the Goose Hollow Foothills League (GHFL).

The Timbers and Thorns have signed agreements with Uber and Lyft to encourage more fans to come to games. The GHFL fears that this will create more traffic in an already congested area.

Turner Construction says that it has tried to accommodate the opinions of the neighborhood.

“We went to neighborhood groups to ask them what we could build,” says Travis Harris, the project superintendent of Turner Construction. ”We also went to Lincoln to talk to [Principal Chapman] about what we were planning on doing.”

Students and teachers are looking forward to the renovation. American Sign Language teacher Ben Malbin looks forward to more attention being brought to the Thorns, who “have been all-stars in the country,” but have not gotten the attention they deserve, he says.

The stadium will bring more attention to the Timbers as well. Diego Valeri, starting attacking midfielder on the Timbers, focused on the positives that will come with the renovated stadium.

“I think Providence Park will be one of the more beautiful stadiums in the US to play soccer in because there will be bigger crowds. I’m looking forward to seeing how that amount of people will change the noise of the stadium and the view of the stadium from inside,” he says.

In just six short weeks, the landscape of Goose Hollow will change substantially. Not only will Providence Park be an enjoyable game day destination, but it will become an iconic addition to the neighborhood.

“I’m very excited to see how it is different,” Valeri says. “It will be better for the city around the stadium, and I’m [looking forward] to playing there for seasons to come.”